POINT PLEASANT — Wes Davis has been elected to a 2013-2014 national officer position for the Future Farmers of America — and he is the first West Virginian to be elected to a national office in 39 years.
Davis, a Mason County native and West Virginia University sophomore, was one of 41 young people at the FFA national conference in Louisville, Ky. last week vying for the six national officer positions.
FFA delegates from all over the US helped elect Davis to the position of eastern region vice president. The other five positions are comprised of president, an officer for each of the other three FFA regions in the United States, and secretary.
Davis’ assessment in Louisville began with a series of interviews, during which he had to demonstrate his ability to advocate for the FFA and the agriculture industry. He was evaluated on a rubric for measuring behavior and leadership qualities.
Davis said there are 571,000 FFA members, spread over all 50 states, and the six elected individuals “are the cream of the crop in the organization.”
Davis is studying agri-business management and hopes to continue to contribute to FFA, perhaps in an educational capacity, after he graduates.
“What I’m most excited about is the opportunity to work with the students,” Davis said.
As a national officer, he’ll be expected to travel all over the U.S., 300 days out of the year.
“You’re advocating for the FFA, interacting with government agencies and organizations that really support FFA,” said Davis. “It’s that support that keeps us so strong.”
Davis has said he is also interested in working through FFA to help people find a closer connection with the food they eat.
“There’s a lot of people who are disconnected from it, and I think there’s a great opportunity to show people how the food system works, and share that story with consumers,” he said.
Davis’ involvement with FFA started with a direct consumer-producer relationship; as a teenager he sold eggs. With his interest and background in the business side of agriculture, Davis plans to advocate for the growth of agribusiness in this region.
“If you look at food production in the U.S., only 1.5 percent of the product goes directly from the producer to the consumer,” Davis said. “So there’s a huge growth potential in that area.”
Davis said that officers are also expected to work with FFA organizers and members on all levels.
“I’d like the use the officer to position to have a good influence on students and help them realize their dreams. That’s why I did the whole thing,” concluded Davis. “I’m very blessed.”